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Walking The Walk
By Joseph Longo

 My bronze baby shoes had been on my desk for years, collecting dust. One day, I shoved them in a box with other tired tchotchkes. Recently, looking for something else, they jumped out at me.  Some of the bronze had turned green and had begun to flake. But the shoes looked remarkably alive, as if a child could still step into them and walk. Read more

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COMMENTS (4) | alzheimer, dimentia, health, parenting, relationships
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My Dog Sister
By Tanya Sousa

I don’t know if Mom instinctively chose a puppy that was like her, or if the puppy chose her for the same reasons, or if it was all a coincidence.  What I do know is that the tiny mixed breed puppy Mom named “Simba” looked much like a lion cub with reddish-gold fur and a black face and had pride and personality to match.  She was a formidable lady, benevolent but alpha, exactly like my rock of a mother. My family had moved from a Massachusetts suburb to the wild Vermont countryside, settling on a long defunct farm complete with old wooden wagons and spiked metal tines hidden in tall field grasses, a decaying barn full of mysteries, and woods full of once lively logging trails.  There were endless opportunities to run and explore. I stayed outside for hours on end, my mother knowing I was in good hands with Simba. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | animal companion, animal wisdom, dog, relationships
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Expert Series:Furry Soul-Mates: Spiritual Contacts With Companion Animals
By Shiri Joshua

Shiri and “fuzzy soul-mate” ‘Pfizer’ (because she is a natural anti-depressant).

In truth, we don’t own anything or anyone. We are not “pet owners,” we simply rent time with those we love (be they in a human or animal form). Working and speaking with hundreds of animal lovers over the past decade, I have come to humbly appreciate how precious is the love we share with our companion animals. Those who have not experienced – or have not allowed themselves to experience – this kind of an open heart kinship, simply do not really understand that this is a relationship like all others in our lives.

Yet sometimes we come across a particular companion animal that penetrates so deep into our heart, we can’t even explain the depth of the connection… It feels familiar as if we’ve known each other our whole life time! Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, animal wisdom, relationships, spiritual
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One Last Kindness
By Billie Criswell

To some people the thought of cleaning up after a person has died, especially when that person was taken at a young age or of unnatural causes, is a horrifying one. Indeed, there are many people who make their living doing this for families who find themselves unable to do such a thing. This was precisely the conversation I found myself engaged in with a friend recently. My friend works with a clean-up and restoration company and they recently expanded to include crime scene clean up a la “Sunshine Cleaning.” (A movie where the two sisters clean up crime scenes.) Read more

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COMMENT (1) | addiction, drugs, loss, relationships, siblings
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Letting Go: Moving On After Loss
By Casey Lee

I grew up in a picturesque family with two parents madly in love with each other, two beautiful older sisters, and a comfortable middle-class Midwestern upbringing. Because my sisters are respectively nine and eleven years older than I, they were married and had children before I reached that point in life; I was the Maid of Honor in both of their weddings and enjoyed every moment of being there for them during these monumental moments in their lives. My parents prided themselves on being doting grandparents, and I devoted more nights to coloring “My Little Pony” pictures and watching cartoons with my nieces and nephews than I did to partying when I was an undergrad.

Despite these happy times, my sisters were gone from my life by the time I turned twenty-two. There was not a tragic car wreck, a devastating battle with cancer, or a freak accident. In fact, as far as I know, my sisters are both healthy and happy as can be, but they have no contact with my parents or myself. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, loss, relationships, siblings
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An Angel Sent Across My Path
By Leo Donaldson

In February of 2006, while teaching my 10th grade computer science class, a call on my cell phone interrupted us. The school had a strict policy that all cell phones must be off in class, but for some reason I simply forgot to turn mine off on that specific day. Amid the jeers and Ooooooh’s erupting from the students, I decided to defy the powers that be, take the call and explain later. Little did I know that this single call would be a turning point in my life. Not only would it change it forever, but would plunge me into what would seem like a never-ending roller coaster ride. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | healing, inspiration, relationships, self growth, trust
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Ailynne
By John Edward Casteele

It’s a moment like no other.

Seeing your child for the first time on an ultrasound is a major event in any expectant parent’s life; you can actually see that little living piece of you, knowing that he or she is real. Unfortunately, not every child shown on an ultrasound is actually all right.  My girlfriend and I had to learn this the hard way.

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm.  Everything that you could possibly ask for in early spring.  It was the day that we were scheduled for our first ultrasound, and we were both nervous and excited.  The image of my child came up on the monitor and I was blown away… until the woman running the machine told us that something was wrong.  She wasn’t picking up a heartbeat, and the baby’s heart should have started beating a few weeks ago.  The image on the monitor that my world had briefly revolved around tore my world apart. Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | children, grief, parenting, relationships, renewal
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I Always Will
By Paige Lougheed - 16 Years Old

I was there the night my sister nearly killed herself.

Sitting down on our cushy chocolate brown couch, I clicked half-heartedly through the channels on our old, beat-up box television. The T.V. had been a gift from one of our old friends. At the time I had thought it generous of him to donate an entire TV. to us for no reason– but now as I stared at its rickety frame and poor signal, I wondered if his motivation was really genuine kindness, or him just using our house as storage space.

As the screen flicked from the family channel to the evening news in the living room, I listened through the thin walls of our basement suite to my mother’s and sister’s argument, coming from the bedroom my sister and I shared. Read more

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COMMENTS (5) | anger management, children, communication, parenting, relationships
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I Am Sorry To Bother You
By Mike Harvey - 87 Years Young

Dear God,

I am sorry to bother you with a question that may appear silly to you.

The question is this: Is it okay to love a dog more than you do a human being? The reason I ask this is simple. Dogs have always been my very best friends.

As a youngster I was shunted into the background as my parents divorced and then remarried.

I was the excess baggage disposed of by being sent to a boarding school. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | animal companion, loss, relationships
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Life Goes On
By Sean Cameron - 18 Years Old

Everyone says divorce is hard. They have no idea. I remember as a kid hearing about parents getting divorces and getting scared that the same thing would happen to mine. I would see it on the television, or see my friends heading to their father’s house for the weekend. So I made sure I kept a close eye on my mom and dad. I was always on the look-out for any signs of arguments. I would make them promise me over and over that they would never get a divorce. I knew it was immature and silly, yet I couldn’t help but worry. However, my parents always seemed so happy together. And of course, my mom and dad promised me they would never be apart. So what did I have to worry about? I guess even parents can be wrong sometimes… Read more

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COMMENT (1) | divorce, family, healing, relationships, self growth
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Expert Series: Family Type-Casting
By Dr. Barbara Sinor

We tend to create similar situations in our lives until we become aware that the same experiences keep “happening to us.” When you recognize a particular negative circumstance seems to repeat itself over and over, or a certain type of person re-enters your life several times to your dismay, take a hard look into your childhood and search for the pattern or script which may be embedded in your subconscious mind which invites the same unwanted experiences into your life. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | family, relationships, self realization
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Expert Series: Midlife Divorce: Blame It On Your Parents?
By Deborah Moskovitch

Your parents’ divorce might be setting the stage for your own.

Shannon*, a 48 year old client of mine, recently explained her “aha” moment when discussing the issues behind her impending divorce. She married her husband because he “completed” her — masking low self-esteem and feelings of not being worthy of love.

It wasn’t until after therapy and introspection that she realized she had fallen into a relationship trap: Trying to fill a void of lost love left by her parents’ divorce, and the loss of a relationship with her mother, when she was just 5 years old. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | divorce, parenting, relationships
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Through And Beyond AIDS
By Deirdre Rhodes (Patwant Kaur)

In 1997, my world radically shifted. One day while my partner Mike was at work, I was packing his ironed clothes back into his cupboard. From underneath this pile slipped a hotel bill. This was nothing strange as he had just returned from Swaziland, where he had played a gig. He was an engineer by day and a musician by night. On closer inspection of the bill, I saw that it was for two, not one, as it should have been. This was all starting to feel like an episode out of “Days of Our Lives.” It perturbed me, but I still thought there must be a logical explanation for this. For the whole day I sat with this information, mulling it over and over in my overactive mind. I said nothing.

The next morning, I asked him whether he had had an affair. I showed him the hotel bill. He had just opened his eyes and was steeped in sleep, a hard time to lie. He admitted that, yes, he had. I felt my heart shred, explode and crumble, my breath lost somewhere between the inhale and exhale, my thoughts blazing in a trillion manic directions. My illusion shattered. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | AIDS, relationships, self growth
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From The Ashes: The Phoenix Rises
By Billie Criswell

My relationship with my stepsister, Laurie, has been a complicated one from its conception. I was six or seven years old when we met; she was two years older than I. I remember being so overjoyed to receive the news that in one fell swoop I would be getting the father I longed for and the big sister I wished for. It seemed to my childhood mind that everything was going to be perfect when my mother remarried.

…of course, as an adult, I know now that things don’t always work out perfectly, and that was the way it happened with our new, blended family. Laurie carried a lot of pain in her young heart. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | relationships, renewal, siblings
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Expert Series: The Need For A Men’s Liberation Movement
By Joel Brass

It’s tough to be a man. I know. I’ve been one all my life.

Though extremely varied in the circumstances that have brought them to seek help, the men who I see on a daily basis in my counseling practice are all living one common story. They have spent their adult lives doing their utmost to live up to a script that was handed them a long time ago about how to be a good man.

At the core of this male instruction manual is one central “commandment” – to serve, to provide and to protect others (originally territorially, these days materially). They have placed all of their focus and every ounce of their energy and strength into its achievement. While certainly necessary and beneficial, this has compelled them to be warriors in action on the battle plains of the outside world; to know, deal and prepare for only that which is outside themselves. Do this. Fix that. Be successful. Make money. Wield power. Keep your eye on the competitor. Anticipate the next curve ball that the world can throw at you.

It is with shock, and inarticulate but deep and real confusion, and disillusionment that a horrid realization has come to the men sitting across from me in the counseling session. It is the mind-numbing realization that the very methods and strategies that they have been praised and rewarded for in the marketplace, have failed them miserably in their private lives. No one wants a boss of any kind at home. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | enlightenment, relationships, self growth
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How Much Fighting Is Too Much?: A Couple’s Guide to Fighting Fair
By Vanessa Voltolina

If you’re in a relationship, you’ve most likely had a spat or two. And according to recent research, arguments about small, nagging things may happen as often as 312 times per year.

Some research even shows that how you handle conflict in your romantic life may have less to do with your relationship and more to do with how you were raised. But regardless of all the small arguments, or how your mother messed you up, enduring screaming matches multiple times a day with your spouse, or stonewalling your boyfriend post-argument may mean that your disagreements have gotten the better of your romance. It’s helpful to know the hot button issues in relationships, and the red flags indicating that it’s gone from lovey-dovey to knock-down, drag out. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | learning, relationships, self improvement
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Detach, Survive, Thrive In My Marriage To An Alcoholic
By Linda J Riley

The world of the non-alcoholic in the midst of alcoholic insanity is difficult. Many succumb to the insanity and become part of the disease itself, and others die from stress-related illnesses. But it is possible to survive. Once the non-alcoholic has learned the survival techniques, the next step would be thriving in spite of it all. It can be done. I am proof that it is possible.

One day I watched in horror as my husband, Riley, stood in the middle of the living room and spewed a stream of urine onto the carpet. Things had gotten bad, but I never imagined they would get that bad. Read more

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COMMENTS (34) | alcoholic, empowerment, relationships, self realization, thriving
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Defining A New Normal Within Marriage
By Billie Criswell

I was 18 years old when I met the man that I would marry, Daren. It was a casual evening with friends that found us chatting on a couch, pretty impressed with one another from head-to-toe. Even at my young age, I knew that this kind of love was different than I had felt before. It felt like magic from the very beginning. I remember having an “ah-ha” moment when I saw him: we locked eyes and I thought to myself, “This guy seems important to me in my life.” From that very moment, there was never another for either of us.

We moved in together after only 3 months of dating, and our ‘honeymoon’ period of the relationship abruptly came to a halt. Read more

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COMMENT (0) | marriage, relationships, self improvement
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Even In Death My Grandfather Healed Me
By Amada Abella

I’m never going to forget the Fall of 2008. It was by far one of the darkest periods of my life in which I learned just what kind of strength I had.

Emotionally, I was in the middle of one of the most crippling stages of my life. I was fresh out of a broken romantic escapade that left me with overwhelming pain and anguish, I had lost someone who I thought was a friend but only turned out to be one of the most abusive people I had ever met, and worst of all I was dealing with my own guilt of having caused someone the same pain I was experiencing. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, relationships, spiritual
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Black Humour And Other Happenings At A Jewish Funeral — Part Three
By Diane Schachter

My dad’s funeral was on a Monday in 1996, in Winnipeg.  It was a graveside service on an overcast fall day.  I didn’t shed many tears at the funeral.  I think that I had already said my goodbyes long before his burial.  Still, as I saw my dad’s casket being lowered into the ground, tears trickled down my cheeks.  In Judaism, the casket is minimalist and is made of cedar.  No rich or poor in burial; we are all equals at death.  Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | family, humour, relationships
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Maggie Meets The Car
By William MacBride

If you’ve never had a dog get hit by a car, you may not fully understand what it’s like. This can be as devastating an experience as if it were to happen to a child. This is a story about the time I learned for real how this feels, by experiencing it. My girlfriend’s dog, Maggie, learned how it felt even more directly. Read more

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COMMENTS (3) | animal companion, relationships
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My Big Brother
By Derek Thompson

It is still hard to take in that my brother, David, has died. Not just in the hospital again, or having switched the phone off for two days because he doesn’t feel like talking, but irrevocably gone. I am the last of the line and all the family memories come crashing to a halt with me.

Sibling rivalry seems such a gentle term for the battles we fought and re-fought in an effort to establish separate identities. Read more

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COMMENTS (6) | family, relationships, siblings
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The Day My Dad Died — Part Two
By Diane Schachter

October 11th – a Friday, one of those perfect fall days.  The air is crisp and the trees are bright as they glisten in the sun.  Children are playing on the street.  How can all of this be happening while my dad lies in a hospital bed in our dining room, taking what will soon be his final breaths? Read more

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COMMENTS (2) | health, loss, relationships
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Saving My Marriage
By M. LaVora Perry

What happens when you’re already in deep with a partner—way past the “getting to know you” phase—but lately you feel certain that you blew it by hooking up with this person, and now you’re stuck with him or her.

We all know about some of the most radical options, especially the big “D” or the big “B” (divorce or breakup). There’s also the big “I”—infidelity. Other options are marriage counseling, or individual counseling if your partner isn’t game. And perhaps the least appealing choice of all is to simply continue suffering.

However, there’s another option: decide way down deep inside yourself that you’re going to turn your situation into a mind-blowing victory. Read more

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COMMENTS (11) | empowerment, marriage, relationships, self improvement, spiritual
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Coming To Terms With The Ghosts Of Christmas Past
By Carol Ayer

“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la…” The all-too-familiar Christmas carol resounded throughout the drugstore. I warily eyed the plastic reindeer and Santa Clauses filling every crevice of the building; the ornaments, the toys, and the candy stacked high on the shelves. I had to force myself to concentrate on finding what I’d come for–tissues, paper towels, and other provisions of everyday life.

But I soon became distracted by another carol. It was no use trying to ignore it. I had to accept the facts. Christmas was back, and I would have to cope. Read more

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COMMENT (1) | enlightenment, loss, parent divorce, relationships
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  • Richard Berman: A emotional story well written with bright eye ups and sad eye downs. A story I could relate to. My...
  • Gina: Love this. Just what I needed to read. Thank you for your courage to share this.
  • Tired: I am struggling with detaching, but still trying. I have been with my other half off and on for 5 years. The...
  • Debra Grossman: Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. It nourishes my soul to learn of such special...
  • Jack russell: Really enjoyed reading the website. I have also have a website about this great dog.
  • Anonymous: Thank God for your blog. After 37 years of being married to an alcoholic,I’ve finally reached my...
  • Anonymous: Thanx 4 da truth
  • Sandra: I am from USA, i am 36 years old, i want to gladly give My testimony of how a spell caster dr.mac@yahoo. com...
  • g: Thank you for your words. As I navigate through marriage with children (11, 5, 3) and I am a stay at home mom, the...
  • Catherine Ellen Pettway: My husband and I married in 1988. He occasionally drank beer but not everyday. He came from...
  • Nic: Thank you Mike for your honesty and vulnerability. It helps to feel a connection with someone who understands...
  • Robert Goldsmith: Thank you for sharing that very intimate experience and your story. I’m married to an...
  • MANDI: Is this group still going? I love my husband and I knew what I was getting into when I married him. I knew he...
  • Kelly: Dear Keith, I hope you are at peace now. You are missed by many.
  • Delilah Campos: Dear LaVora, Thank you so much for sharing this intimate experience. I am deeply touched and...
  • Mary Ellen Bennett: Thank you so much. I am married to an alcoholic and I have watched him go through rehabilitation...
  • Tracy: Thank you for sharing your story with me Ivor. I’m so glad you had a loving supportive Aunt to guide you...
  • Joe Longo: Love this photo
  • Daniel Fontana: I know those kids,especially Snezana.Please send me their contact information.
  • Neyhaaa: I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. Yet, thank you.
  • Amy: My daughter is five and her dad is an alcoholic. I know we need to leave. We both own our house and I...
  • CPC: I think this is among the such a lot important info for me. And i’m happy studying your article. However...
  • online festival: Every year, people in India find different ways to celebrate the same festival, and perhaps this...
  • Karol: Listening to all the mother’s on here is overwhelming for me. I think about what all of you are going...
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  • Elle: Wel written article. My husband is walking around totally beligerant. Where he ends up making messes, he has...
  • Maren: Thank you for this! 3rd day on Cipralex and a glimmer of hope.
  • Anonymous: I ‘gave in’ recently. I am more hopeful than ever that things will improve for me after...
  • LindaJane Riley: I apologize to everyone who has commented. I didn’t know this story was still active. I would...
  • Rahulbh28: Dear Members, Please help me. . . I’m sharing my painful moments which my brother and my family...
  • rene: Yes i too lived the nightmare for 45 yrs..when in my marriage the last. 10 yrs my alcoholic lived in the same...
  • Grace: I typed in Google search, overcoming childhood loneliness because I am paying attention to some habits that I...
  • Casadina: I am so thankful that I found this website. I am like others on here and my alcoholic is passed out snoring...
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  • Carol: I have recently begun to admit that my husband is an alcoholic. My heart is broken… I am pissed… I...
  • TJ: Thank you for this article. You are the first person who seems to understand why I am still married to an...
  • sariah: I wept as I read your story. I am currently learning to detach as well after 20 years of marriage to an...
  • LaVora: Good luck, N. My experience may not be yours. However, I deeply believe that happiness is our birthright. You...
  • nk: Lavora, I am exactly here in my marriage – trying to turn it around. Rgds, N
  • Suzanne: Hi Martin and Cathy. Watched your documentary. You are a wonderful family. Everyone has their struggles, no...
  • admin: Thank you for letting us know. The link is now set to the their new WEB page. We have our dog from them.
  • Linda Jane Riley: About a year ago I was forced to take a step back from all things related to alcoholism. My...
  • SHerry: Your link to the rescue adoption site is for sale with no other info on the dogs.
  • Marleen: Thank you for sharing your story! That’s real inspirating!
  • Julie: Its 4:50am here. I can hear him snoring in the nursery. I brought the baby to bed with me.. He only snores...
  • ld: I thought I was suffering alone. The advice and comments make me feel better and gives me the strength to go on....
  • Sam: Hi Mike, Very poignant, “There are no grown-ups. We are all children in adult garments” is right on...
  • TJ: Thank You!!! Like “judy” commented above my mind was racing and I felt out of control… My life...
  • Karunakaran: It’s very nice.
  • judy: Thanks for ur writings… it really help my mind to calm down…. where can i go to talk with alot of...
  • Tanya Sousa: We certainly do have to change the way we respond, don’t we Paul? I’m encouraged though. I...
  • Paul Trainer: Thank you, Tanya, this is all so true. As someone who adores starlings too, I know that it is only when...
  • Cathy: In reading I see how difficult it is to be married to an alcoholic husband for 30 years and have now...
  • carrir: You took the words right out of my mouth. Xoxo
  • ceri: What an amazing story of love between step son and step father
  • Caney Texas: Hello! I’ve been reading your site for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and...
  • julie: what a wonderful article, she described me to a tee , it was nice to put words to the feelings , I am new to...
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  • Carleen Quesenberry: Denise- It is perplexing that you would write a “feel good” story after you...
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  • Wendy Noer: I felt like I was there, good story Melodee, keep writing. Let me know when you finish another one.
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